01 Jun Wa’a Kiakahi Starts with Arrival of HSCA
Wa’a Kiakahi started with the arrival of the Hawaiian Sailing Canoe Association (HSCA) on Friday afternoon. Landing on Kaanapali Beach in front of The Aston at The Whaler on Kaanapali Beach, the wa’a (canoes) were greeted to a lively crowd on the beach.
This was the third leg of the HSCA’s annual race that went from Keokea on Hawaii, the Big Island to Hana on Maui, from Hana to Kahului, then Kahului to Kaanapali. Here on Kaanapali Beach the crews of the competing canoes will spend Saturday performing what they call “community service.” During this community service time the HSCA will give visitors free rides on the Wa’a and have a talk story session about their experiences and sharing the culture of Wa’a.
A traditional blessing was given by Clifford Naeole, a Hawaiian Cultural Practitioner. It was his third Wa’a Kiakahi blessing and a chance to express the cultural significance of the wa’a. Clifford had this to say: “Although today most wa’a are made of composite graphite or fiber-glass, they are still considered to be living entities by the Hawaiian people. They are the boats that allowed the Polynesians to walk upon on the water. Coming across the highways of the ocean from the Pacifica, Tahiti, Marquesas and the even greater accomplishment of returning back. Wa’a Kiakahi is a way of continuing the awareness and spirituality of the canoe. It is the bird of the ocean which flies above the currents. Having new technology is great but the ancient heart and soul of the canoe remains. They may be more refined and faster today, but they keep to the heart of the tradition, which is men and women of the ocean who must work together as a team and understand that nature will dictate what happens. The best word to describe being on the ocean… humbled.”
The wa’a opening ceremony began with a ha’a performed by the elders of the pa kui a holo, a school of Hawaiian ceremony protocol. The ha’a is a statement of arrival telling the reason they came, who they are, where they are from and asking for acceptance by the people of this land.
Kiri Esibill, the HSCA President stated, “These are the finest watermen and women in the world, who are in tune with the ocean and weather conditions. Uncle Mike, Mike Kincaid, carves waves on a canoe like a surfer carves a wave. This is a skill he excels at. The beauty of the sport lies in skill, attitude, and sheer athleticism.”
We invite you to come experience Wa’a Kiakahi on Kaanapali Beach!